On December 9, 2022, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals Board on Professional Responsibility, on its Report and Recommendation, recommended the suspension of a Washington attorney, George W. Crawford II for failure to comply with the Rules of Professional conduct.
The case is styled ‘In the Matter of George W. Crawford II’ with Case #15-BD-108.
The charges cited rules of professional conduct Rules 3.1, 3.3(a)(1), 3.4(c), 8.4(a), 8.4(c), and 8.4(d) of the District of Columbia Rules of Professional Conduct, which states:
A lawyer shall not bring or defend a proceeding, or assert or controvert an issue therein, unless there is a basis in law and fact for doing so that is not frivolous, which includes a good-faith argument for an extension, modification, or reversal of existing law.
A law shall not knowingly make a false statement of fact or law to a tribunal or fail to correct a false statement of material fact or law previously made to the tribunal by the lawyer, unless correction would require disclosure of information that is prohibited by Rule 1.6
A lawyer shall not knowingly disobey an obligation under the rules of a tribunal except for an open refusal based on an assertion that no valid obligation exists.
It is misconduct to violate or attempt to violate the Rules of Professional Conduct, knowingly assist or induce another to do so, or do so through the acts of another.
It is professional misconduct for a lawyer to engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation.
The District of Columbia Rules of Professional Conduct can be found here.
The disciplinary matter was pursuant to the Specification of Charges filed by the Office of Bar Counsel on November 9, 2015. The District of Columbia Court of Appeals changed the title of Bar Counsel to Disciplinary Counsel effective December 19, 2015.
The charges alleged that Crawford have violated the above-cited rules of Professional Conduct by filing frivolous motions and knowingly making false statements of fact to the Court, disobeying numerous court orders. Crawford was further alleged to have made false representations to the Court and engaged in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice by his frivolous filings, misrepresentations to the court, and his contemptuous violation of the Court’s Orders.
The above-mentioned misconduct was in relation to a civil judgment, Civil Action No. 2007-CA-5890, in which Crawford and his co-defendants were adjudged to pay jointly and severally the amount of $1,158,701.40. The judgment arose from Crawford’s being a guarantor for the loan of co-defendants to First Washington, and because of Crawford’s co-defendants’ default in paying the loan, Crawford was then liable for the full amount of the loan. Moreover, Crawford agreed to a settlement with First Washington wherein he promised to pay $10,000, however, over the next six years, in an effort to avoid payment of the settlement, Crawford engaged in obstructionist behaviors which resulted in his incarceration for civil contempt.
The Disciplinary Counsel has asked the Hearing Committee to recommend Crawford’s six-month suspension with reinstatement conditioned upon a showing of fitness, payment of outstanding sanctions, and compliance with any court orders.
The Hearing Committee, on the other hand, in its lengthy Report and Recommendation, agreed with the Disciplinary Counsel’s recommended discipline and conditions.
The Report and Recommendation of the Ad Hoc Hearing Committee states:
“Respondent’s misconduct is serious, aggravated, wide-ranging, pervasive, and protracted. As we have set forth in our findings, Respondent first defied the authority of the court and then deceived the court to escape the lawful and proper consequences of his continuing defiance. In this way, he prevented the court from providing the remedies the law provides to vindicate the court’s authority and to protect the rights of the other parties to the case.”
The Report and Recommendation of the Ad Hoc Hearing Committee continue:
“Respondent has never acknowledged that any of his conduct was wrong in any respect. To the contrary, in his testimony before the Hearing Committee, he denied that he had committed any violations of the Rules of Professional Conduct or any wrongdoing whatsoever in the underlying litigation. FF 373. In fact, he testified that it would be a “national scandal” if the national media and his college classmate (including judges) had become aware of his alleged mistreatment and his incarceration by the court. FF 374. This is a lawyer with an invincible sense of his own rectitude and propriety in everything that he did in this case. As a result, he has not acknowledged any wrongful conduct.”
With all the foregoing facts and discussion, the Board on Professional Responsibility affirmed the Hearing Committee’s recommendation to impose a six-month suspension on Crawford with reinstatement conditioned upon Crawford’s showing of fitness, compliance with any pending court orders, and payment of any outstanding sanctions awards.
Mr. George W. Crawford II practiced in Washington and has been licensed to practice in the District of Columbia, as well as in Texas. His info can be found on Avvo.
A copy of the Report and Recommendation of the Board can be found here.